Air ambulance rescue inspires farmer to hold tractor drive fundraiser

Russel Abbott

Russel Abbott on his tractor in his field near Ipswich. - Credit: Russel Abbott

Farmer Russel Abbott was out in his field one day when the air ambulance descended from above and showcased the life-saving work the charity does. 

The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) flew to a Bentley field on April 27 when a man in his fifties suffered a cardiac arrest. Thirty-eight-year-old Mr Abbott saw the aircraft land in his field. 

The man was then flown to the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge for further care. 

"It really hit home to me that could be my dad," Mr Abbott said. "It's just everybody's lifeline." 

Russel Abbott

Russel Abbott's tractors in his field near Ipswich. - Credit: Russel Abbott

The EAAA is entirely charity-funded and regularly delivers life-saving care to patients with over 500 missions so far in 2021. 

It was aided this time through East of England Ambulance NHS Trust's volunteer first responder Janet Webb, from the Manningtree team, who was first on the scene. 

Mrs Webb said she "only had rough directions" but through What Three Words she was able to get on the scene quickly.

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"We don't always get the outcome we want," the 59-year-old said. "I love doing it. We get to meet some interesting people. 

"We find what works. It's interesting."

This is the route around the Shotley Peninsula that tractor drivers will take for East Anglian Air Ambulance

This is the route around the Shotley Peninsula that Russel Abbott and other tractor drivers will take for East Anglian Air Ambulance - Credit: Russel Abbott

After seeing this brave work up close, Mr Abbott is organising a tractor ride, which leaving Valley Farm in Wherstead at around 10.30am on Saturday, May 29. 

It will then travel around the Shotley Peninsula, and arrive at the Harkstead Bakers Arms at approximately 12.30pm.

The drivers are paying an entry fee of £20 and several generous donations have already been made 

Mr Abbott would like to thank Stuart Paul, Geof Mayhew, Phil Mayhew, Dan Hewes, William Wrinch and Henry Strutt for their help organising the event. 

EAAA also recently launched an urgent fundraising appeal to permanently carry blood on board its helicopters and rapid response vehicles.

A tractor ride is raising money for East Anglian Air Ambulance.

A tractor ride is raising money for East Anglian Air Ambulance near Ipswich. - Credit: Russel Abbott

By carrying blood independently for the first time as a result of this appeal, EAAA will be able to offer this potentially lifesaving treatment to a much larger number of patients.

Text BLOOD to 70460 to donate £5, text BLOOD 10 to give £10, or BLOOD 20 to give £20   

For Mr Abbott's fundraiser see here or give a £1 when the tractors pass by the peninsula next Saturday. For more details look at Shotley Peninsula's Facebook pages. 

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